Liudmila Sharaya: Limits of Nostalgia in Russia Abroad: imperial imagery among the first-wave Russian émigrés in Bulgaria and France in the interwar period

My PhD dissertation is about the particular legacy of the Russian empire through imperial imagery in the lives of the first-wave of Russian military émigrés. I intend to show the power of imperial imagery and the limitations of this power in two lines of investigation: the interrelation between the socio-economic status of émigrés as well as their political beliefs, and their engagement with Orientalist discourse and practices. I will explore these aspects of life in the Russian diaspora in three European countries – France, Bulgaria, and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia – in the interwar period. All three countries had dramatically different social, political, economic, and cultural circumstances, and yet harbored significant groups of first-wave Russian military émigrés. Due to the difference in these circumstances, France, Bulgaria, and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia provided divergent opportunities and limitations in the job market and different positions to Orientalist discourse and practices, thus creating representative case studies for my research.

Liudmila Sharaya is a PhD student at Arizona State University. She received her undergraduate degree in medieval history at Saint Petersburg State University. She continued her studies at the graduate level, receiving two Master degrees at the European University in Saint Petersburg and the Central European University in Budapest. Currently, she is working on her doctoral dissertation about Russian émigrés in Europe during the interwar period under the supervision of Professor Laurie Manchester. Her academic interests include migration studies, Russian and Modern European history, history of empires, and memory studies. Outside academia, she enjoys travelling, hiking, and learning new languages.

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